Should Polygamy be Legal?
Do you think that polygamy should be legal? Do you think that the Church would change its position on polygamy if it became legal? If it became legal in Canada, would the Church allow for it to be practiced there but not in the states? Why does the Church currently ban polygamy in countries where it is legal? (It does, right?)
In the law given to Moses God gave several commands relative to the practice of plural marriage (polygamy).
One of those laws was that you aren't allowed to collect wives like they are postage stamps. This was actually directed at kings, who would have the resources for such.
"Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart doesn't turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." Deuteronomy 17:17
We see this law broken by Solomon who had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
Another law, that was given to all, is that when a man has more wives he can't make the son of a favorite wife his primary heir, rather than the true firstborn son.
"If a man has two wives, one he loves, and the other he hates, and they have born him children, both the loved and the hated; and if the firstborn son is hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he makes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the loved wife's firstborn before the son of the hated wife's firstborn, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated as the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he has: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his." Deuteronomy 21:15-17
A third rule is that in taking any additional wives that which the original wife/wives have had must remain the same. He can't reduce the amount of food they get (for example) so that he can feed an extra wife. In regard the first wife/wives the law says _
"... her clothing, and her duty of marriage, he shall not diminish." Exodus 21:10
When God separated the descendants of Lehi etc from the Jews he declared that a lot of disobedience to these laws had been taking place in Jerusalem (Jacob 2:31-32). He felt the Nephites and Lamanites would abuse this to the point that he commanded them all not to practice it unless he gave some people an instruction to the contrary.
So I would have to ask all to consider, how righteous do you feel the Western World would be in this practice today? I don't see that they would be following God's instructions. On the other side we could ask, should all be held back by the evil of others? Isn't this the latter days when all things should be restored? And what of the fact that there are more women going to church than men; how can they all have righteous husbands?
Further consideration has to be given when we look at the fact that God commanded plural marriage in the case of a dead brother, where the other brother was living within the same community.
"If brothers dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without to a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in to her, and take her to him as a wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name won't be put out of Israel." Deuteronomy 25:5-6
So if a man is married and has seven brothers, who all die having left no heir, he would end up being instructed of God to have 8 wives by this law.
God does give a way out if the person really has problems with marrying a specific woman (or in the case above not being able to afford to support 8 wives and/or keep order in the house). He can have her spit in his face and bare the name of a person who has refused to do his duty in this regard, for the rest of his life (Deuteronomy 25:7-10). But, plainly, God is saying this should be a rare decision to take.
Brother Benson (who was church president at the time) was asked during a radio broadcast about the "constantly changing doctrines" of the church. He questioned the interviewer as to what changing doctrines he referred. The interviewer raised the point of plural marriage. Brother Benson stated that we certainly do believe in plural marriage, we just don't practice it because it is against the law.
The manifesto by Brother Woodruff states that the advice against practicing plural marriage at that time was, "inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress."
These latter statements answer your second question.
People are wrong to put opinions upon God that he hasn't expressed in either Scripture or to them personally, just because they think it isn't what they want. This has created serious persecution for the church in the past. Because of this the church has strongly distanced itself from plural marriage at this time. It advocates to all members everywhere a united front against such in practice. I would strongly hope that the church doesn't demand that a man put off his wives in countries where such is legal and the family has only just accepted the gospel. But then it is extremely sensitive about plural marriage.
In asking me do I think that plural marriage should be legal, I have to take all these things, mentioned above, into consideration. There are many advantages to plural marriage. Most of them being to women. And if you want to know some of these there are sites that begin to cover them. I would like to expound upon the subject the many things the Holy Ghost has told me. But it is the wrong time. This is all that I can say. But let me assure you that I firmly know that all marriage is a holy and pure practice when done as it should be.